For most of my life I’ve escaped into three things: technology/code, movies, and books . Movies were always the hardest in my mind simply because the value-to-price ratio is way out of whack. $10 buys two hours of entertainment where buying a book costs the same and the entertainment lasts for days. (Technology costs a lot more but I get years of enjoyment for it.)
When I was in college, a matinee was $3.25. A delayed rental at Blockbuster was $2. Given that we had nothing else to spend our money on, my future wife and I saw a lot of movies in the theater. Anything that looked remotely interesting we’d go see. But as we’ve gotten older and our time more sparse, as our money has been designated for other things, as matinee prices have tripled, and as we have accumulated large screen tvs and surround sound systems that rival the best theaters, going to the movies is now something we only do a couple of times a year.
With that in mind, years ago I came up with a movie rating system to figure out what’s appropriate theater faire and what isn’t. Without further ado, the Freedman Movie Rating System™:
- 5 Stars: Full-Priced Movie at the Theater
- 4 Stars: Matinee-Price Movie at the theater
- 3 Stars: Netflix Discs/Rental
- 2 Stars: Netflix Watch Instantly/Amazon Instant Video/Cable
- 1 Star: Couldn’t pay me to watch the movie
The scale really comes down to three factors: price, immediacy and convenience. 4 and 5 really differentiate on price and immediacy. If there is a movie I really want to see right away, like when Lord of the Rings came out, I had to go to a theater. The only question was whether it was worth the full priced, evening ticket or the mid-priced, afternoon ticket. The next step down, 3 stars, is having to wait for the movie to come out on disc and then wait for it to show up in my queue or go to the rental place. The price is still a factor but the bigger issue is waiting for the movie to become available. 2 stars is the instant gratification. The price is good because it is included with the thing you are buying anyway (or used to be for Netflix) but the selection is mediocre and, in the case of cable, not within your control. Finally, 1 star is self explanatory. At some point, I hope that this at least becomes a four-tiered system, where we can combine 2 and 3. But for now they remain separate.
There’s an important second part to this post but that’s enough deep thought for now. We’ll pick this up again soon. 🙂
 I used to escape into sports, too, but whether it’s age or the lack of cable or the frustrations with my favorite sports teams, I find my interest waining.